White Stripes

Tickets bought.  Anticipation builds.

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American Idol – The Top 9 – Review

Here’s how I saw and heard last night’s American Idol:

Blake:  A good performance, but he seems to miss the drama of the lyrics and makes it more bubbly than it should be.  Also, too much aimless walking around the stage and too much trying to look cool.  I find that sometimes gets in the way of his vocal performance.

Phil:  As he was singing this, I was thinking the word “empty”.  His performance was empty of emotion and feeling.  Simon’s “all the joy of someone singing in a funeral parlour” is apt.  I just don’t like Phil.  I really like Tony Bennett, but one of the things I wonder about him is his sincerity.  How sincere is he in all the positive things he says to/about other performers.  So, when he says Phil is one of the better singers he’s heard recently, I have to wonder:  Is Tony Bennett full of shit?  Sometimes he is, obviously.

Melinda:  a knockout performance.  Impeccably sung.  However, as she was singing, I was wondering if/when she wins the competition, who will she be marketed to?  She may be young-ish, but she gives off a middle-aged vibe.  Who is her demographic?

Chris:  A good performance, but uninspiring. 

Jordin:  This week and last, Jordin sang well, but her nerves seem to be getting in the way of her nailing her performances.  Pretty strong, otherwise.

Gina:  A well-performed but ultimately forgettable performance.  Horrible makeup.

Sanjaya:  See, now I can buy Tony saying he thinks Sanjaya is “terrific” much more than I can him saying Phil is one of the better singers he’s heard.  Terrific does not necessarily have to relate to his singing abilities, or even anything relating to performing at all.  That’s the kind of Tony Bennett compliment I can buy.  Angina was so bland, many notes were off and most were weak.  Unfortunately, AI has chosen to embrace the oddity of Angina and promote him as the wacky entertainer.  He’ll stick around for a while yet.

Haley:  Haley looked much better than she sang last night.  And last night, she looked whorish.  Mid-to-top-dollar whorish, but still, whorish.  She’s the only “beautiful” female left in the competition, so that might save her tonight, but I doubt it.

LaKisha: Another good performance, but all of her performances are starting to sound alike.  She needs to take the risk to sing outside her comfort zone, otherwise people will get bored with her, even though her singing is very good.

As always, assuming Sanjaya’s actual talent does not factor into the proceedings (otherwise, he’d be gone):
Bottom Three:  Phil, Gina, Haley

Leaving:  Haley (or Phil).  I hope Phil leaves because I really don’t like him.

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American Idol – The Top Ten – Review

Quickly (because, really, that’s all it deserves, at the most), here’s my review of the performances on American Idol last night, and my prediciton:

LaKisha – A pretty good performance of Donna Summer’s “Last Dance”.  But rather forgettable somehow.  I think LaKisha is playing the game a bit too softly right now, and needs to reassert herself as the powerhouse woman she is.  Maybe she’s pacing herself, letting Doolittle take all the spotlight now, and then turn it on big time when it really matters.

Fat Chris – A terrible performance of The Police hit “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”.  Like they all said, he was off the beat and didn’t seem comfortable.  Hope his likability keeps him around another week so that he can try and redeem himself.  I like that he easily admitted that he basically screwed up on it.  Good for him.

Gina – The Pretender’s “I’ll Stand By You”.  I thought she did a great job.  Pretty in-control the whole song, on pitch for most all of it.

Sanjaya – Honestly, I didn’t mind the Pig-Tail-Hawk.  But to wear something like that, you need to back it up with a good performance, and Angina sucked.  He can hit most of the notes he tries to hit, but has no power in his voice and no confidence in his on-stage performance.  When will be the week when his lesser talent is more powerful than the power of the mob that wants to keep him around?  Not this week, I fear.  Like Simon said, his performance doesn’t matter, so no need to overly critique it.

Haley – Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”.  I didn’t like this at all.  Thought it was very weak, and might cause her to leave this week.  But maybe she has a bigger fan-base that will keep her around a while longer.  Based solely on vocal performance, though, she needs to be very close to the bottom of the list.

Phil – The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”.  Didn’t really like this much, either.  I just don’t like Phil, I think.  He must have been reading forums from the past couple of weeks, because he did the smart thing and cover up that bald head and pointy ears.  Did he remind anyone else of Spock when Spock visits other planets and tries to pass himself off as “human” by wearing a cap that covers his ears?  Phil is Spock.  Probably a strong enough vocal to protect him this week.

Melinda – Donna Summer’s “Heaven Knows”.  Another very professional performance by Melinda.  She’s currently the cream of the crop and the one to beat.  Not much of a personality from her, though.  I predict the innocent aw-shucks thing will tire America of her.  Definitely safe this week though.

Blake – I like that he sang The Cure’s “Love Song”, and thought he did a good job vocally, but the arrangement was pretty boring.  Also, he has a weird melted-face thing that happens when he sings.  The top lip and bottom lip of his mouth don’t fit right.  And good job on appearing less arrogant this week.

Jordin – No Doubt’s “Hey Baby”.  I wasn’t crazy about this performance.  Kind of an odd song to perform for a singing competition, I thought.  Her outfit was a little weird, too.  Good enough not to worry though.

Chris R – No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”.  I don’t really like his style of vocal.  Didn’t really enjoy this much.  Kind of forgettable.  But, to me, that’s Chris R.  Kind of forgettable.

My Bottom Two:  Sanjaya & Haley
America’s Bottom Two:  Haley & Phil

Who will leave:  Haley  (I know I’m wrong)

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American Idol Recap – The Top 12

Well, here I go.  Let’s see how many weeks of Idol recaps I get in before I get bored, get tired, or get smart and stop watching.

Two hours!!  Two frackin’ hours!  And it sailed by. Like it was only three hours long.
I’ve always been bored by the Simon/Ryan gay-innuendo jokes that have peppered the show since forever.  However, last night’s round was pretty funny:

Ryan: Simon, any advice on the heels?
Simon (rolling his eyes): You would know, Ryan.
Ryan: Stay out of my closet.
Simon: Well, come out!
Ryan: This is about the Top 12, okay, not your wishes.

It all seemed pretty light-hearted.  Is this the season that Ryan finally comes out?  Stay tuned!!

The performances:

Brandon sang “You Can’t Hurry Love”.  I didn’t like it at all.  His vocals either seemed to be ahead of, or behind, the melody.  Except for when he forgot the lyrics.  I know exactly why he forgot his lyrics.  Just before that moment, he did this little dance move during a very short vocal break in the song.  I got the feeling that he was very pleased with himself for doing it.  His onanism caused him to lose focus and forget the lyrics.  He was bad, but not bad enough to leave this week.  There were plenty more to come who turned out to be even worse than Brandon.  Brandon stays.  Of all the people who do their weekly Idol recaps, I bet I’m the only one who uses the word “onanism” this week.  Betcha!

Melinda sang some song from The Wiz, a movie I never saw, nor never will see.  Simon said it perfectly when he said she made a very boring song sound terrific.  She was very good and will go very far in the competition.  However I don’t know if her odd looks can allow her to win it all.  She looks too old (she’s an “old soul”), and has some strange facial features, plus the body of a linebacker.  Her appearance won’t interfere with her talent this week.  She’ll be back. Bet on it.

Chris Sligh sang “Endless Love”.  Well, he sang a Coldplay-ish song that had the same lyrics as Endless Love, but a different melody and chord progression.  I know what Chris was trying to do when he rearranged the arrangement.  Good for him for trying to do that, I say.  Bad on him for doing such a crappy job on it.  I was disappointed that he eschewed the great melody the song has, for something he perceived as more hip and current.  Still, despite the awful arrangement, I thought he sang it very well.  It just wasn’t, you know, Endless Love.  It was some other song.  He’ll stay.  I bet I’m the only one who uses the word “eschew” in an Idol recap this week.

Gina sand “Love Child”.  Now that Gina’s been cast into her niche (rocker girl), she does seem more comfortable with herself.  However, I found last night’s performance dull, dull, dull.  Forgettable.  Still, she’ll stay around.

Sanjaya sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.  Listening to his performance, it was pretty easy to see how weak his voice is.  There’s just not enough power in his voice.  It was a pretty awful performance.  He deserves to leave, but the IMOA (Idiotic Masses Of America) likely will keep him around to forever gaze into his big doe eyes and dream about running their fingers through his mane of hair.  Yes, Sanjaya, apparently, is a Disney character.  You don’t vote out a Disney character.  Dammit, no!!  I’ll put my faith in the IMOA and say they’ll do the right thing and kill Bambi. 

Haley sings “Missing You”.  She doesn’t do a very good job, in my opinion.  Still, her performance wasn’t nearly as bad as her dress.  She, too, forgot the lyrics and her vocal performance wasn’t very strong.  Paula, always looking for the positive, tells Haley she looks pretty.  Haley looked like that helpful advice was like a stab in the heart.  Telling a singer that at least they look nice is like telling a date you can still be friends.  Simon, surprisingly, thought she wasn’t that bad, and applauded her stage presence.  I can only assume that Haley is one of the performers that Simon is backing and therefore will look for any positive in order to save face.  That’s my guess.  Paula and Randy both seem to have favourites too, who they inexplicably talk up despite their not warranting the positive feedback.

Phil sings “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”.  Phil has to find a toupe.  The bald thing isn’t working for him.  It’s his ears.  They’re way too big.  Oh, yeah, his performance:  an okay performance, but too much screeching and screaming.  Another forgettable performer only remembered because of his bald, freaky look.  Wait… maybe that’s his tactic.  Better to be remembered as freaky looking than to be forgettable.  He’ll stay.

LaKisha sings “God Bless The Child”.  She absolutely nailed it.  As I watched her, I was appreciating how “in control” she was in her singing.  She didn’t let the song get too big for her.  What’s great about LaKisha (apart from her amazing voice) is that she is a good actor.  By that I mean she has a great ability to find the dramatic elements of the lyrics and use them to express the emotion of the song.  She was, as Randy said, sensational.

Blake sang “You Keep Me Hanging On”.  Over the past weeks, I was a fan of Blake.  I thought he showed a lot of charisma and was pretty cool without it getting in his way.  But last night, i thought Blake’s “coolness” corrupted his performance.  He seemed a bit too smug with himself.  Thank god he didn’t beat box to the song. He too, like Chris Sligh, rearranged the song in an attempt to modernize it.  It wasn’t as bad a rearrangement as Chris’s was, but Chris did a better job of singing.  Blake’s vocals seemed to get trumped by his desire to show off his dance moves and his all-that.  That’s what I didn’t like about Blake last night.  He forgot it was a singing competition and treated like an “I’m all that” competition.  He’ll stay though.

Stephanie sang “Love Hangover”.  I thought Stephanie did a pretty good job, which is an opinion in contrast to that of the judges.  They seemed to harp on the idea that she teased us by singing the intro and didn’t give us the part of the song that is more uptempo.  For me, someone who doesn’t really know the song, I am ignorant of that fact.  So, for me, there was no missing uptempo part, since I didn’t know it existed.  I just thought the song was the sort of slow-tempo, somewhat boring, thing she sang.  I didn’t really like the song, but thought she did an okay job with it.

Chris R sang “The Boss”.  I thought the song was too big for his voice, as he ended up sounding like he was straining too much to reach the notes.  Rather forgettable, I thought.

Jordin sang “If We Hold On Together”.  She was the big surprise for me last night.  I wasn’t expecting much from her, and I thought she did a terrific job performing a song I didn’t much like.

Who should go home:  Sanjaya.

Who will go home:  Hopefully Sanjaya.  And until he does, I won’t try and guess the choices of the IMOA.

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Meh, Yeah, Meh

Three TV shows I watched last night.  The first hour of the Grammys (meh), the HBO serial Rome (yeah), and the Space soap opera Battlestar Galactica.

This is when I remember being concerned about the future of The Police:


You consider me the young apprentice


Caught between the Scylla and Charibdes.

When I first heard those lyrics in Wrapped Around Your Finger, I started to look for the large aquarium that housed the shark that The Police had jumped.  Not the kind of lyrics, I remember thinking, that a rock song should be made out of.  We lovers of rock don’t want to have to buy the abridged version of the lyrics to understand the references.  Anyway, it didn’t matter, since Synchronicity (the album the song was from) was their last.  Sting, of course, went on to a career full of such Thinking-Man’s lyrics.  I liked my The Police punky and rocking.  Less jazz, more backbeat.

So, when I heard The Police were reforming, and would open last night’s Grammys, I was excited.  However, which The Police would show up?  The Police where the lyric “chasm” might make an appearance as Sting forgo a stand-up bass for a bass-lute?  Or The Police where ears would be ringing a half-hour after they played an impossibly fast version of “Man In A Suitcase”?  Turns out more of the former, less of the latter.
They played only one song (was disappointed in that, was hoping for at least two), that song being “Roxanne”.  After a kind of ugly and lame shout-out “We’re the Police, and we’re back!!” by Sting, they started playing.  First verse, I was thinking “Oh, how I’ve missed this sound!”  Second verse, they started getting a bit flowery with their rendition of the song.  “Uh oh, here comes the lute”.  Fortunately, it wasn’t too awful, and they ended the song pretty solidly.  Overall, though, it was a pretty “Meh” performance for the beginning of a “comeback”.  Still, I’d love to see them in concert somewhere.  The rest of the first hour of the Grammys was pretty meh too.  Although, I got a little shiver of excitement when I saw Prince come out on stage.  Disappointed that he was only introducing Beyonce.  It would’ve kicked ass if a Prince performance was one of the “surprises” the announcer kept talking about.  What were the surprises anyway?

I only watched the first hour of the Grammys because I switched it over to watch a new episode of Rome.  I’m really enjoying this series, and last night’s episode was great.  Full of some neat twists and turns in plot, and enticing in what its unfolding promises for the final few episodes of the series (this second season is supposed to be the final season).  So, a “yeah” from me for last night’s episode of Rome.

A big “meh” from me, though, for last night’s Battlestar Galactica.  In fact, for the most part, this whole season has been mostly “meh” with a few episodes of “yeah” thrown in.  Last night’s show was not a must-see if you happened to miss it.  It was one of those totally self-contained contrivances that don’t add at all to the overall arc of the show.  Barely any forward movement on the show’s main plots, and a storyline that I totally didn’t care about. 

So, just to make it easier for you to keep notes for the test that will be coming up later in the semester, it’s a  meh yeah meh from me on the TV I watched last night.  Write that down:  meh yeah meh.

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Anuzzer Band Reunion

There was a time when I, along with many others, was a big fan of The Police.  My wife (then fiance) was an even bigger fan.  Then, years after they broke up, I found I couldn’t stand listening to Police songs.  Couldn’t get through them. (I’m finding the same situation now with many REM songs, another band that I was once big in to)
Maybe a year or two ago, I reconnected with The Police songs and can happily and enthusiastically enjoy them again (you can all release your breath now, as I’m sure you were holding it awaiting the outcome of my Police affections)

So, the rumours news that The Police were going to reform and tour this summer piqued my interest.  And now the news that they’ll be playing at the Grammys this month (as of tomorrow), I gotta admit I’m kind of excited, kinda like a schoolgirl.  I’d never seen them play live, but have seen numerous clips of them on stage.  With my excitement, though, comes the natural trepidation too.  How will they sound?  Will they be old and safe and pedestrian, or will they try to rock the house?  If they do try to rock the house, will they fail miserably?  I’m hoping they blow the roof off the joint.  Failing that, I hope we at least catch glimpses of the synchronicity (clever, no?) they obviously shared when they performed.  It would be really sad (yet acceptable) to see three egos failing to connect with each other, fakely bopping their way through a medley of hits.  I’m ready for that scenario too.

So, if you were The Police, and you were reuniting, what songs would you play in your, say, six minutes allotted time?  Me, I’d have to go with Every Breath You Take (only because it was so huge).  I’d love to hear Canary In A Coalmine and Walking On The Moon.  I want to hear them as the pop songs they were (and still are) and not slowed-down jazzy interpretations (you hear me, Sting?).  I am ready to hear the lame-ish medley of hits.

Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to watching it all unfold.

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